tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC June 10, 2012 9:00am-11:00am PDT
mitt romney and hispanic vote. a boy takes beating over baseball. a megachurch's new name and a last voyage of a warrior. we'll touch on those stories, but first, fresh reaction today on the recent leaks of classified information. senator john mccain claimed today that the leak came from someone in the white house. >> i have no idea whether the president knew or did not know. i have never alleged such a thing. it's obvious on its face that this information came from individuals who are in the administration. the president may not have done it himself, but the president is certainly responsible as commander in chief. >> now, that is a claim the president has flatly denied. nbc's kristen welker is live from the white house. kristen, good morning to you.
what's the latest in the white house? >> good morning, alex. there was buzz on this topic. on friday attorney general eric holder announced he was going to appoint two top prosecutors to investigate the leak of this information about cyberattacks on iran and drone strikes on suspected terrorists. some senators have come forward, including senator john mccain, saying his actions don't go far enough. they would like to see a special council appointed, somebody who would be independent of the justice department. as you just claimed, senator john mccain is the one leading the charge as the obama administration has released this classified information for political gain to make the president look strong in an election year. as you said, the president has firmly denied those charges. today his top adviser david axelrod was on the morning shows also denying the charges. >> i think the officers involved in this work have said that the white house was not the source of this information.
i can't say there weren't leaks, there were obviously leaks, but they weren't from the white house. >> reporter: and alex, i've been talking to some intelligence officials who say it's really difficult to determine the source of a leak in part because dozens of people have access to classified information. in addition, it's tough to prosecute someone because you have to show that the person had an intent to harm the u.s., and that's, of course, difficult to prove. but we should point out that this is really a concern that lawmakers are expressing on both sides of the aisle, senator diane feinstein has expressed concern about this, the senator's armed services committee expected to hold hearings on this topic, there may be other congressional hearings as well. the lawmakers also talking about the possibility of drafting legislation that would include stiffer laws against this that would make it tougher and dissuade people to leak classified information. alex? >> thank you for that update from the white house. i'm now joined by anne corn blut
and david drucker. anne, the senator has suggested that these leaks were made on purpose to make the president look good. how would he know definitively -- theredefinitive? there's got to be an investigation. >> there's no question that the stories involved here did make the president look pretty good, he looked pretty decisive, he's in command. that's also been the case with previous stories that didn't come under these same charges, but look, it's an election year. john mccain obviously was his rival four years ago, he's not involved now. it's really not that surprising he would be on the lookout for political motivations, but you're absolutely right, there is no way to know until they would get to the source of this leak and then potentially talk to that person what the motivations were, but it's not entirely out of character for mccain to draw a hard line on national security, and i think
that's what you're seeing here. >> absolutely. david, how difficult is it to uncover leaks like this? and if they do discover who is behind it, is the public necessarily even going to find out? >> well, it's a great question, and we've seen over the years that every time there's an investigation into a leak, they don't necessarily get to the original subject matter and the original alleged leak, but they get somewhere else, and i think for the administration, the problem is political. what i feel like we're going to have now is a drip, drip, drip. everybody is going to be asked, what did you know, how did you know it, were you in the room, and whether or not the administration is exonerated in all of this or nothing factual is found, the idea that people sympathetic to the president within the administration were talking to reporters, i think, is a story that could stick because it's a very easy question for us to ask, and i feel like the next question is, well, the attorney general has appointed some investigators to look into this, what about a special prosecutor? that question will not go away,
i don't think. >> before that question, i want to ask both of you, any conventional wisdom on where these leaks may have come from? if you're looking at the white house, congress or the intelligence community? anne, you first. >> it's one of those that you just mentioned. i mean, if you read the stories, obviously it's administration officials. that's a pretty wide net to cast. but as a reporter, i'm not going to go into the business of trying to second-guess who my colleague's sources were. >> that's a good one. how about you, david? i'm not asking you to guess sources, but what is your gut about this, or are you hearing any scuttlebutt about it? >> i'm going to stick with anne on this, but it really doesn't matter where it came from. wait this was presented puts the officials on the defense, i think we saw that friday, and that's the narrative that's going to stick here for a while. >> okay. i'm going to ask you guys to sit tight. i'm going to get back to you. we have some more front page politics. fireworks from both sides today.
the senior adviser clashing with rick santorum over previous statements of the candidate's comments on the economy. at the same time democrats blasted comments romney made about more public sector jobs. >> we had a slowdown in the last few months largely because of global events. what the president has said is we need to take some urgent action and he's called on congress to do that. they're more eager to have a debate over an add-on clause over his remarks than the substance of what he said. >> i think you saw very clearly president obama's plans for going forward is to amp up the public sector. this is a false choice, that somehow pumping more money into an education system that is already spending an enormous amount of money is going to solve the problem. what we need to do is have more education reform, not throw more money at teachers, and mitt romney understands that.
>> you hear from both sides here over the controversy on mitt romney's remarks. make an educated guess. whose comments are going to hurt more with swing, independent, middle of the road voters? >> i think obama's comments by far. i think it was such a blanket statement that's easy to cut into an ad. it's a very broad statement. the private sector is doing fine. nobody thinks that even people who think the economy is on the upswing doesn't think the private sector is doing fine, and i just think given where the country is now, debt and deficits and government spending, even what romney said is a little problematic, he's going to come out on top on this one because many people are questioning how much money we should be putting into the public sector rather than focusing on private sector job growth. >> anne, fundamentally speaking, don't the comments by president obama and mitt romney highlight the differences on jobs? you have the president saying local governments don't have enough money to hire, mr. romney says the government needs to cut costs.
i think this is really simplifying, but in a nutshell, isn't that it? >> it's funny, these both got described in the moment as gaffes, but in fact there were substantive policy underpinning what they both had to say. now, i'm sure the white house would take back the private sector comment in a heartbeat. he didn't mean it was fine, he said it was relative and had to do with the rate of job creation, but you're absolutely right, there are very serious policy differences here, and i think before last tuesday, perhaps they would have tried to minimize them, but after the vote in wisconsin, mitt romney is not going to be apologetic about saying the public sector perhaps needs to be curbed. cutting firefighters and cops has never been popular, but it's not as dangerous as it once was. >> mitt romney's comments, they were all in context of wisconsin and the voters there, knocking public sector employees and unions. are they overinterpreting the wisconsin results?
>> yeah, sure they are. there was a lot of things that happened in wisconsin that can be ascribed to a local dynamic, a state dynamic, and whether or not poeceople didn't think the recall was justified even if they disagreed with governor walker. but i do think that political parties can't help themselves. they'll go forward with this and see how far they can push it. i would say there is a chance, and we won't known until november 6, november 7 that what wisconsin meant is there is more of an appetite to curb the public sector and that that could be a smart way for mitt romney to go, but there are risks, and they shouldn't overinterpret the mandate of what it was causing then. >> anne, i want to address your comment with hillary clinton on 2016. i know we're getting way ahead of ourselves, but tell us what she said about that. it seems like no matter what she says, there is always buzz. >> it's never too soon to talk about 2016 or even 2020 if you'd like to go there. i wouldn't ordinarily jump that
far ahead but there has been so much buzz, if you will, about hillary clinton recently. she's gotten the question not so much here but when she's traveled overseas from foreign citizens, foreign reporters. she got it recently on a trip to europe. and she has said all along, i'm looking forward to being a private citizen, but there are a lot of people around her who think she could run, that she should run. her inner circle is basically divided. there are people who think it would be not a shoo-in and perhaps very hard on her and she could do just as much good in the private world. there are others who would really like to see her fulfill 2008. but there are a lot of people thinking about it. when i wrote the story, it was too soon, and i emerged thinking perhaps it was a little too late. >> she said, i'm looking forward to just taking a walk without all you people tagging along. that puts it into perspective, anyway. thank you very much, both of you. coming up in five minutes,
we're going to talk to a supreme court clerk on what they could decide on the health reform law. it could happen as early as tomorrow. but now, in developing news out of alabama, we're tracking multiple victims in a deadly shooting following a pool party at auburn university. members of the football team are allegedly involved here and at least one person is reportedly dead. the site is on lockdown, police are investigating. we're going to bring you more details as we get them here on msnbc. a man caught on tape beating his stepson with a belt for missing a ball. his grandfather says something that might surprise you. we'll be back on "weekend with alex witt." and then there's you... why should i try it? my system gets out of sorts but that comes with age, right? wouldn't you like to feel great? just because we're in that over 50... what does that mean? are we done? activia helps regulate your digestive system when eaten daily.
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channel's mike seidel is standing. there is some horrendous weather. how bad is it, mike? >> it's getting bad very quickly. we have another line of heavy rain and thunder coming from the gulf of mexico. we had a record in pensacola with 13.13 inches of rainfall. this is coming down about an inch an hour. this complex, 200 units, the forest creek apartments some of the hardest hit areas in pensacola. in the distance, you can see cars with the water up to their hoods. the water had been receding nicely because we had a 12-hour break and now we have a thunderstorm this morning. this is going to stick around for at least an hour or so and just kick in more localized flooding. with all the rain we've seen over the past two hours near mobile and counties in alabama, they have not issued flash flood warnings so i guess the water is draining off at least at a pretty good clip. this is not what they want to see. we just got a report from a rain
gauge about 10 miles southwest of downtown pensacola of almost 22 inches of rain yesterday and today, 22 inches of rain! with a tropical depression that moves slow, maybe, but this is very unusual because we had a cold front that moved down to the gulf of mexico, and with one of the mechanisms yesterday we couldn't get a cold front in the gulf of mexico during this unusual winter, but we had one the past few days ands coming i water coming straight down, and you can see the water piling up, and i'm noticing now that the water has come up on the tire and rims in that car there on the back. about a dozen cars back there. by the way, this whole place emptied out yesterday. 100 folks were evacuated, a lot of them by boat. not a good situation. fortunately pretty localized between new orleans, mobile and pensacola. the good news, alex, this rain is heading up into atlanta, georgia and in the south wieeas
where they desperately need the rainfall and don't have the totals they have here. >> we appreciate it, mike seidel. do take care. we have some headlines making news for you in the west coast right now. the salt lake city tribune has a front page story how mitt romney's bid for the presidency is both positive and negative for the church of latter-day saints, or the mormons. they tell the church they are ready for an onslaut ght of questions. the idaho statesman says wildlife services' methods leave a trail of animal death of certain species. they have killed tens of thousands of other animals, including family pets and federally protected golden and bald eagles by mistake. and the los angeles times has a front page story about the shortage of homes for sale. it is creating some fierce
competition in the momhome mark there. buyers are bid ding on homes before they're even listed. sellers feel time is on their side and buyers feel an urge ae urge ancy of low interest rates. timothy bradley won the fight last night. the coffee box punch count had him connected on 253 total punches. that's nearly 100 more than bradley's 159. the end of pachoe's winning streak. he said he'll ask for a rematch come november. in the big apple. adjusting to city life was hard for me. and becoming a fulltime indoor cat wasn't easy for atti.
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"weekends with alex witt," and this item won't make facebook any more attractive to investors. about a third of them are getting bored with the social network. the poll also shows 80% of them never bought anything from the ads they saw while on facebook. of course, none of this could make mark zuckerberg or shareholders feel too happy. tomorrow we could find out what the supreme court thinks about the health care reform law. it has been three months now. at stake we have one of the largest government overhauls in the nation's history and president obama's piece of legislation. the opinion could come down to one man, justice andrew kennedy, the swing vote on the bench. joining me, a man who knows him well. a partner at wwlt who opposes the health care law.
steven, welcome. >> thanks, alex. good to be here. >> as an insider here, tell us what the court will do before june 28. >> the court will decide everything on its docket before it recesses for the summer. generally it's scheduled for monday mornings, and we won't know what decisions will come down until the justices appear on monday. i think most people think that given the complexity of the health care cases, given that there's likely to be four separate majority opinions, we're likely to see them at the end of the month, probably not before. it could happen tomorrow. >> okay. what about what's happening on time magazine this week just as kennedy being on the cover calling him the decider. you are his former clerk. it comes down to pretty much him? >> i think it is likely. justice kennedy gets one vote just like everyone else, but
based upon what the justices have written before, based upon oral argument, i think it's likely that the four justices to justice kennedy's law are likely to uphold the law, and it's like the four justices to his right will vote to strike the mandate. >> give me an idea of how he would approach a case of this sort. >> sure. the constitution is divided between the state and the federal government. justice kennedy believes that federalism protects our libertys, that we are more free when power is divided among the federal government and the states than when it's concentrated in one or the other. everyone agrees that the federal government has broad powers to regulate the economy, so the question here in the health care case is did the original mandate provision, which forces people to buy health insurance who don't have it, is that a valid
regulation of commerce or if you're forcing someone to actually enter into a commercial dr transaction, are you really going beyond the powers of the federal government? i think that's the question justice kennedy is going to focus on. >> his comments, i'll read to your first point, he said to the court, can you create commerce in order to regulate it? that was a question that was posed during discussion. and on the flip side he said, they are in the market in the sense they are creating a risk that the market must account for, those being the uninsured that he refers to. so do you think when he forms his opinion this will all be according to how he feels or is it strictly facts at hand? >> well, i think he's going to make his best judgment of what the constitution requires. justice kennedy asked some hard questions of both sides, and ultimately those are just questions. he will make a decision, and we'll know what he thinks and of course what his colleagues on the court think when his opinions come down. >> steven, with regard to what you've written, you said if the court strikes down the original mandate, which is one possibility, then the entire law
must come down because it would no longer be consistent with the intent of congress. yesterday i was speaking with a supreme court expert who said striking the whole law down would result in chaos with the states as well as the health care industry. what's your take on that outcome? >> well, look, the original mandate is at the center of the act. it, in effect, provides hundreds of billions of dollars over a ten-year period to health insurers. if that is struck down, even if everything else is left, we're going to have a massive economic problem with the act and congress is going to have to intervene to fix it. so whether the justices simply strike down the mandate or whether they go further and strike down the whole law, if that is the outcome of the case, congress is going to have to go back to the drawing board here. >> while i know you don't have a definitive answer to this question, do you have a gut check which way this will go? >> i don't. i'm not really in the prediction business here. i think the arguments went well for the challengers, but we'll really only know when the opinions come down by the end of the month. >> thank you, steven.
strategies in swing states. it is the next thing to talk about on "weekends with alex witt." who trust duracell. they rely on copper to go for the gold. duracell. trusted everywhere. ♪ lord, you got no reason ♪ you got no right ♪ ♪ i find myself at the wrong place ♪ [ male announcer ] the ram 1500 express. ♪ it says a lot about you. ♪ in a deep, hemi-rumble sort of way. guts. glory. ram.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." a half hour in today's strategy talk, swing states don't matter. an article in the "washington post" tries to debunk what it calls the swing state myths. joining me is communications director and msnbc political analyst karen finney and huckabee manager harold saltsman. let's take a look at these myths. first up number one, swing state polls are key to predicting a winner. they say it's a more uniform swing that you see in the state polls. karen, why are we wasare we was with state polls? >> i think overall we put too
much emphasis on polls, because we're polling multiple times in a given week, even. i think you have to look at a combination of both, what the swing state polls are telling you and the national polls are telling you to really get a sense of what's going on. i don't disagree you can't rely solely on those polls, but i think you ought to rely on both. >> that's very ecumenical of you. it shows there is no evidence that a vp can pick up a certain demographic. should romney find a vp over a target demo or just the best overall? >> i think you go with the best draft choice that's available. one, you want to pick somebody who is ready to be president. that's first and foremost. and you don't want to pick a vp that will hurt you. you always say someone in the swing state, but we've seen in history that dick cheney didn't think wyoming was going to be a swing state at some point, so that wasn't the reason why.
even when bill clinton picked out gore from tennessee, that wasn't it. you have to pick someone that fits you and is good for the country. >> if you pick a running mate for a popular swing state, if you will, you might be able to pick up a couple points in his or her home state. and in a tight race, that can make a big difference. >> it can make a big difference. >> although, you know, i think chip would agree with this, but i think you don't pick someone because it means quote, unquote, you're going to win that state. i think on both the democratic and republican side, it may do no harm and it may help some, but it's not going to be, like, the magic bullet. >> is there anyone the democrats are scared of as a vp pick, karen? >> i'm thinking someone like condoleeza rice, although she has said she's not interested, but i find her to be one of the most scary possibilities. >> she's so accomplished, i
would agree. but whether she wants to go there is another thing. let's go to number three. you should focus on swing state economies, not the national economy. most voters think the president has more control over the local economy, so they form their opinion on a national scale. karen, this is a sensitive issue for the president this weekend. how does it play for him? >> it is. it's a tough issue in general. generally one of the things we're seeing, ironically, is in the swing states currently, their economies are doing better. i mean, their unemployment numbers are in better shape in a lot of these places than the national numbers. so it's hard to judge how people are feeling, meaning at the local level they might think, well, things are going better here, but gee, the national economy doesn't seem to be doing well. that's what they hold the president accountable for. they don't hold him accountable for what's going on in their state, necessarily. the point is not what the numbers say but how people are feeling and being able to speak to how people feel about what's
happening in the economy. >> okay. i'm going to put number 4 to both of you. once a swing state, always a swing state. are we living in the past by focusing on states like florida and ohio now? chip, i'll let you go first. >> swing states are changing. it used to be missouri was the bell weather state. now we tend to focus on florida and ohio and some other states. every campaign brings a different set of swing states. when you had bill clinton and al gore on the ballot in '92 and '96, a lot of the southern states kind of moved off to a sheer republican and moved into the swing state category, and bill clinton carried a few of those states. so every campaign is unique and the swing states change. we have a few like ohio that always seem to be there, but for the most part, they're pretty movable. >> how about you, karen? >> i agree. if you look at a state like virginia and the demographics have changed and the voter pattern has changed, that's a state that has switched from the red column to more of a swing state.
and if you look at the west, demographic changes impact that as well as, you know, the energy that parties put into those states across a number of elections. >> okay. here we go to number 5. republicans can't win the presidency without ohio. now, this post says to forget all the pundit's rules. chip, your man at stake here. can romney win without the rules? >> sure, he can, but it becomes a lot harder. i mean, if you lose ohio, then you have to win florida, and then probably north carolina and virginia to make the math work. so, you know, the campaign is pretty simple. you've got about 15 so-called swing states, and your challenge is to move those swing states to your column as quickly as you can to get to 270 and that's what the fight is going to be about in the next few months, is to get those swing states as quickly as you can. >> karen? >> just quickly, i think it's probably a good thing for the country that we focus on not just an 18-swing state strategy
because more people are able to get engaged in the presidency and the money isn't focused on just a few states, so i think it's a positive overall. >> thank you very much, karen finney and chip statten. a major shift in the church, allowing black men to join the priesthood. it was on nbc news with john chancellor. >> reporter: the mormon church today changed a rule which has existed for almost 150 years. in salt lake city, the church said black men may now be admitted to the mormon priesthood. spencer campbell, the president of the church, said god had answered his prayers, that he had received a direct revelation from god on this matter which is the way that changes occur in the mormon church. >> back in 1978, the mormon church had 4 million members around the world. today it has 6 million members in the u.s., about 14 million worldwide. the priesthood is still reserved
for mormon males. no women can serve. developing now, at least 35 people are dead after a new round of fighting in syria. the syrian army has shefld shelved the city of hommes. the worst fighting in the damascus capital since it started 28 months ago. thousands attended funerals for women and children. they said they would topple syrian president assad. italian people are fearing for their economic future after a failure of a spanish bailout also this weekend u.s. treasury timothy geithner said the bailout would help end the european debt crisis. just friday, obama urged european leaders to act quickly. meanwhile, those in spain
used pots and pans to try to show their anger of the spanish people and the bailout of the banks. a public official is out on $100,000 bail today. he was booked on felony abuse for beating his stepson, allegedly because the boy couldn't catch a baseball. it all stems from this viral video which shows sanchez whipping his stepson with a belt until lopez decided enough was enough. >> that's enough, dick! that's enough! me. yeah, me. i know you're beating mhim because he won't catch the ball. >> zach's grandfather says the boy reportedly suffers from adhd which sometimes causes him to lash out. >> there were no bruises, there was one little mark which he said he had incurred prooefevio.
zach and i have a tremendous bond. i love him with all my heart. i would let no one harm him. if i had any inclination that they were harming him, i would not let them come close. >> you're defending anthony sanchez? >> absolutely. >> the d.a. is now expecting the case. we've been asking you today, what is the line between punishment and abuse? here are some of your tweets. they tweet, i'm 65. my father has been gone for years, but i remember the beatings far more than love. johnny law says, there is no line anymore, it's all abuse these days. muddpie says, there o disciplin not to hurt. beating kids teaches that fighting is how to solve problems and could lead to
emotional problems. and the defense of these actions is in excusable. if the child were an adult there would be no defense. a new list of how the best housing markets in the world puts brazil on top. they're up 23% this year. a 14% gain is good for second place, india comes in third. the u.s. not even making the top ten there. now the world's most expensive city is oslo, norway. a study finds oslo almost 40% more expensive than new york city. ouch. where is the most expensive ticket to baseball? boston at $88. toronto pays out at about $72. that's a buck more than you'll pay at new york yankees stadium. at the box office, "madagascar 3" is expected to take the box office with about a $6 million take.
the southern california m a megachurch cathedral has a new name. it was sold to the roman catholic diocese last year. the new name is christ cathedral. investors will be watching capitol hill as jamie dimon testifies before congress about his bank's trading fiasco. he's expected to talk about what happened and what the bank has done since then to shore up its assets. the congress will hold a job
summit in washington. leaders and job advocates will get together to jump start hiring. alex sanford will be sentenced in washington. he was accused of running a $7 million ponzi scheme. prosecution is asking for the maximum, 250 years in prison. people speak of their animals as best friends. they are significant others. they are like children. >> that is from a new documentary airing on hbo on june 18. it premiers at 9:00 p.m. and it examines america's relationship with dogs, as we just saw. it is a lifelong love affair, but it also takes a look at the dark side of animal life. >> there is a dark little secret that every year we're putting down millions of dogs. >> this little puppy is going to be replaced.
>> the worst conditions i've ever seen. >> he wasn't my child, he wasn't my parent, he was my dog. >> it is called "one nation underdog," stories of fear, loss and betrayal. ellen kent is both the producer and director. thanks so much for being here, ellen. we have this premier in about a week ago, but what inspired you to do this documentary? >> well, hbo is not the first place you would think of making a dog film, but they love to go where others fear to tread, and we wanted to look at america's relationship with dogs in an unflinching way, maybe get people to think a little differently. >> i know we were saying on a commercial break both of us loving animals, and you said it makes you look differently. for some it is an obsession. talk about that. >> well, i think that somebody in the film says very well that there is a physical presence with a dog. there is a connection that you make that can be very different than the relationship you have with people. your dog never tells you that
you're too needy and they're always there for you. there's something magical, too, i think when you make a connection with an animal, with a member of the other species. >> it's divided into three different parts, i believe it's fear, loss, betrayal, correct? you talk about the puppy mills, the cruel conditions these dogs are subjected to. how is this portrayed in the film? >> well, we show a raid on a puppy mill. the upside of the story is that all of these dogs wind up in the hands of rescue groups and find homes. but this is a case that was prosecuted, and i think what we try to bring out is that when you buy a dog from a pet store, there is a good chance it came from a puppy mill, which is a nice word for a nightmare. >> what is the solution here? one thing i noted when reviewing this segment was that you're trying to get people to understand about spaying and neutering.
it befuddles me that people don't already get that. >> most people do, but statistics show the small percentage that don't spay or neuter their dogs are responsible for a huge homeless population that american taxpayers end up paying for to the tune of $2.5 billion. so if the message got out to that small percentage of people who don't do it, then there would be fewer dogs killed in animal shelters. >> it's that and actually going to those shelters and taking needy dogs from there that will help, yeah? >> it's just incredible. i think one of the things that i learned, aside from just walking into a shelter to find a dog, you can get an amazing dog or puppy, any breed, a purebred, from anywhere in the country if gu you go on line. there are rescue groups breeding these dogs, they go into foster homes. you can get any dog you want. you really don't have to buy it. if you do buy a dog, it's
important to see with your own eyes where it came from. >> there is a prime time version. that will air june 18, 9:00 on hbo and that one will be a little more graphic but then you're also editing a daytime version for families, younger kids and more sensitive viewers, right? >> absolutely. >> it's all good. thank you for bringing it to us, ellen kent. good luck with it. >> thank you. the uss iowa has arrived in its permanent home at the port of los angeles. that museum will be a tourist attraction. that battle served in world war ii and the cold war. check it out. pretty cool. the wheat in every mini-wheat has gotta be just right. perfect golden color. rich in fiber. my dad taught me, and i taught my son out there. morning, pa. wait... who's driving the...? ♪ 99 bushels of wheat on the farm, 99 bushels of wheat ♪ [ male announcer ] yep, there's 8 filling layers of whole grain fiber in those fun little biscuits... so they stick with you, all morning long.
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anniversary of the girl skouts of america, and they filled the national mall in washington, d.c. about 2,000 girl scouts came to the capitol for the 100th anniversary sing-along. they suspect they will win the guinness book of world records for the largest gala in history. one group of workers fighting for changes at america's number one private employer, walmart. the workers say the conditions make it nearly impossible to economically survive even though the company posted a 10% jump in profits during the first quarter. a loosely knit organization called our walmart is gathering workers to campaign for more hours, better wages, reliable schedules and affordable benefits. usa today reporter jane o'donnell is joining me now. she co-authored this article. jane, thanks for joining me. >> my pleasure. >> first up, has walmart responded to any of these complaints? >> the complaints from the workers?
yes, in a large scale way and also, you know, at the store level. some of the workers did tell us that they have been able to get more hours. one of the complaints is that as the evidence flow of store traffic, when maybe a sale is over, when they know traffic is down, the workers say their schedule can vary widely. they say when they fight for more hours with their managers, they have had some success. on a large scale, walmart does say they are doing everything they should be expected to do and that they're often paying as much, if not more, than other retailers. >> and part of what this group does is teaches team members on how to go about stachnding up f their rights in dealing with store managers and their legal protections as workers. but do you think they're trying to eunizunionize? they are not a union thus far. >> they have been trying to
unionize walmart for about 15 or 20 years. they have considerable funding that the actual number is not public record, but they do collect, the group does collect about $5 a month from workers. so they are getting funding from the workers. a lot of the money is probably coming from the united food and commercial workers -- i should say it clearly is. they have an incentive to do this becau this, the union does, because according to them it's actually hurting their negotiations with some of the other stores like the safeways, the giants and other grocery stores because they say they can't pay more wages because they're trying to compete with walmart. >> to that end, there is a specific quote i want to get from your article in terms of how walmart has responded. they say, walmart says wages and benefits for its 1.4 million u.s. employees are as good or better than other retailers and that our walmart members helped
by the united food and workers union are just trying to promote discontent? what about that? >> as a reporter, as you well know, you hear two completely different stories from either side. none of us are going to ever know for sure whether most of the 1.4 million workers are truly happy and that these are a very small minority that are not, but it is clear that they are the ones who are willing to stand up and to speak for, you know, perhaps untold thousands, if not tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands. >> very quickly, how is walmart compared to its retailers? it says it's as good or better. do we have any proof of that? >> it's very difficult to get exact wages or accurate wages of other retailers, but outside consultants say they are in about the top 25% of other retailers when it comes to wages
and benefits that are being paid. as we know, retail is not, you know, a high paying industry, but the argument is that because all of these stores are trying to compete against walmart, it's driving wages down across the board. that's probably hard to argue with because we're all looking for a low price, and so many of us are shopping at walmart as well as similar discounters. >> make sense. jane o'donnell, thank you so much. >> my pleasure. office politics with tony vigarosa. we'll talk to him here on "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] this is genco services -- mcallen, texas. in here, heavy rental equipment in the middle of nowhere, is always headed somewhere. to give it a sense of direction, at&t created a mobile asset solution to protect and track everything. so every piece of equipment knows where it is, how it's doing or where it goes next.
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take the lead. ask your doctor if including advair could help improve your lung function. get your first full prescription free and save on refills at advaircopd.com. . good day to all of you. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." it is 1:00 in the east, 10:00 a.m. in the west. we'll get to what's happening
out there. new and developing questions about how spain's bailout could affect the u.s. economy. that country now asking the european union for $125 billion in aid to help its ailing banks. analysts are already speculating about what boost this could have on wall street which just came off its best week so far this year. msnbc duncan is in london with more on this. how is this benefiting europe and what impact could this have on the markets both here and overseas. >> good morning, alex. good to talk to you again. the action in europe could best be described as, okay, here's a bit of breathing space, but it's definitely not a sigh of relief. not with greece holding an election next weekend which could determine whether it leaves the euro. this is what they decided yesterday. finance ministers offered spain a $125 billion to help stabilize their banks. they've been hit bad by prophecy
loans. it still depends on two orders which should be completed in the coming days. it looks like spain might have got what it wanted, that is, an injection of money without the tough pulls put on ireland and greece. they have welcomed the deal and so has u.s. secretary timothy geithner. remember, europe is the second biggest trading partner and they have been urging decisive action because the problems here are threatening the u.s. recovery. analysts i've been reading say this should provide an immediate boost when the markets open in new york tomorrow when rumors of a bailout started on friday, it had a positive lift, so maybe a lift on stocks tomorrow morning. i don't want to bring doom, but next week greece couoey electricity a government that would refuse the lift of a $125
billion bailout, which could put risk with more countries. >> which means the 25 hours of opening may not hold through the week. duncan, thank you so much. do the politics of escalating of words from obama and romney on the economy. rick santorum is slamming obama when he said the private sector is doing fine, and mitt romney's comments on cutting public sector jobs. >> he said we don't need any more teachers. 250,000 teachers have lost their jobs in the last couple of years. that is dramatically bad news for the country. it's certainly not good news for our future. what planet is he living on where he thinks we can take these kinds of hits in our education system and progress as a country? >> i think governor romney's plan is far superior. governor romney's plan is about lowering taxes and getting this economy going in the private sector, which has been dragging
and causing the high rates of unemployment we've seen, the low rates of growth, and reducing the regulatory burden. this administration has done more to crush business than anyone in history. >> joining me now for more front page politics, national reporter for the "washington post" amy gardner and reporter politico patrick gavin. good to have you here. patrick, what mitt romney said friday, the flames only seem to be growing hotter today. how far do you think this is going to go, and are either of their statements going to have long term impact on the election? >> this is going to go all the way to november, make no mistake about it. this is sort of kind of how the game gets played. whether any of the quotes that president obama's comment that the private sector will live on, is okay, but whether it will
seriously affect the november election, technically, no, but do the small quotes build up over time if they're repeated in other ways to paint this portrait of a candidate that might not be right for voters? in this case with president obama, a true gaffe is what plays into the perception of what his opponents have with him, which in this case he's not friendly with wall street. when romney makes a comment that it plays to poor people, that shows a perception he's too close to it. those comments can prove damaging. >> we had very well-pro duduceds that both campaigns were in them. amy, the private sector has lost 2 million jobs and the privaubl sector has lost 161,000. >> i think the scene we're seeing in the last couple days
is that both candidates are trying to play the election as a fairly stark choice, and it is a fairly stark choice each candidate is trying to offer in this economic uncertainty. you have romney saying we've been spending too much, we've been borrowing too much, our deficits have to be reduced. we can't keep spending federal dollars in order to undermine the federal economy. on the other hand, you have president obama saying we can't just pull the rug out from under these institutions that provide a really valuable program that helps the middle class and equalize the playing field for folks, and, you know, provide college education aid and work force training, and the list goes on. so there is a real strong choice, i think, that both sides are trying to present, and this rhetorical back and forth that we've been seeing the last couple days really showcases that choice. >> so patrick, fundamentally speaking, don't the comments by
president obama and mitt romney highlight their differences on jobs? you have president obama saying local governments don't have enough money to hire. you have mitt romney saying the government needs to cut costs. i know we're simplifying here, but in a nutshell, isn't that it? >> that is pretty much the debate we're going to have this fall. the president is in a uniquely different spot when it comes to this, because we saw this on friday, he not only needs to be active and cognizant of the troubles the american country is having, while also defending his policies and make clear that nothing bad is necessarily going on, and it wasn't his fault, which you hear talk all the time about what he inherited. obviously romney has his own record from the past he needs to defend. that was a long time ago, and it wasn't necessarily as applicable as the president because he's the president, obviously, so people look at his record of what have you done so far? i think the numbers you need to look at are not necessarily the
jobs numbers but what are americans' perceptions of how the economy is doing, and on top of that, who do they trust to handle it? if americans don't like the way the economy is going but they still think the president is the right person to take charge of it, then he's okay, but if they decide romney is better, then the president will be in trouble. >> the comments were all on the context of tuesday's votes in wisconsin and how they knocked the public sector and the union. do you think they are overinterpreting the romney state results? >> i do think there is a risk of governor romney of alienating public and private voters who overrule the public sector as a nation. certainly there is peril for president obama in what he said on friday. the private sector is doing fine is a phrase that doesn't resonate for millions of americans who are deeply anxious and uncertain about the state of the economy and their own personal finances. however, there is a flip side to that which is if governor romney presents an argument of
austerity that is more tailored to the republican primary electrprimary electorate that he's been tail orring for so many months rather than the sector in november, there will be peril there as well. how hard is it to track down who is is responsible for these leaks, and if they do find who it is, do they get revealed to the public? >> it's easier than 50 years ago because we have e-mail trails that make it easier to sort it out, but i doubt they'll be able to prosecute any leaks here, number one. in a lot of cases, these pieces of classified information are seen and read by hundreds of people, so to actually identify who it is is very, very difficult. on top of that, it's a very high bar in these cases to prove sort of that they damage national security.
number one, they need to prove that they knew purposely when they leaked this information that it would damage the united states or help a foreign country, and number two, they then have to prove the damage. so it is very, very difficult, and then you add in the sort of constitutional issues of press freedom issues. i'm skeptical that they're going to have much success on this. there are a lot of sensitive issues at play, but i think no doubt you'll see both political sides trying to make hay out of it. >> amy, while i'm not asking for your personal opinion, is there any conventional wisdom where these leaks have come from if you're given the choices of the white house, congress or the intelligence community? what is the buzz out there? >> i appreciate you saying i don't have to tell my personal view. i don't know about conventional wisdom. certainly republican lawmakers in congress have been quite vocal about their view, their strong view led by senator john mccain in arizona, of course, and also lindsay graham in south carolina have both made very strong statements this past week, bakesically accusing poin
blank the white house of making these leaks in order to make president obama look tough. these are leaks pertaining to national security operations that do help president obama's image when it comes to foreign policy. there is no question there has been an advantage to the content of these leaks. however, president obama said on friday, he flatly denied it. he said it is not true. attorney general eric holder announced that he was appointing two u.s. attorneys to lead investigations into this, and so we're going to have to see how it plays out. i think there is going to be some pressure on the administration to ferret this out, although i think the point it's difficult to prosecute is a va sail yent one, and if i'm not mistaken, there have been six investigations into the obama administration and none of them have led to results. >> interesting. aim and amy and patrick, good to see both of you. >> thanks, alex.
from there to developing news out of alabama where police are investigating a deadly shooting at an apartment complex near auburn university. the violence reportedly broke out when two men began fighting over a girl at a pool party. witnesses claim members of the school's football team are allegedly involved, but we do know at least one person is dead. today parts of florida's panhandle under water and the damage is estimated in the millions. look at these images. they're going to show you the extent of the washouts in pensacola where a record-setting 13 inches of rain fell over the last 24 hours. the whether channel's mike seidel is there for us. hello to you, mike. >> good afternoon, alex. the heavy rain has come back here in pensacola, another line of torrential downpours, tropical moisture out of the gulf of mexico. lightning and thunder hit us here about noontime, and it's now rolling on through, this rainfall rate about an inch an hour. yesterday we had the wet test june day and the second wettest day on record in pensacola history, 13.13 inches.
behind me in the forest creek complex, by the way, the 200 units, just about everybody left yesterday either by boat or their own accord. they were able to get out before the water came up. but there in the back, you can see cars with water certainly up above their tires up to their hoods. not a lot of rain, and certainly not a lot of wind with the rain we had yesterday and today, but it's coming down again very, very hard. we had one rain gauge about nine or ten miles southwest of pensacola checked in late this morning with almost 22 inches of rain. that's an amazing total considering we're not talking about a slow-moving tropical storm or tropical depression. the flash flood watch has continued here through at least tomorrow morning with floods up on the rivers and creeks and bayous that are flooding and the rain is heading northeast. that's a good thing. georgia has the worst drought in the country. about a third of the state is now under an exceptional and extreme drought. they need the rain. they're not going to get the kind of totals we've had here,
but another five inches for folks down here will mean more flash flooding today, tonight and possibly into tomorrow morning. alex, back to you. >> all right, mike seidel, we're glad for the heads up. thank you. china is taking steps to revive its economy, but what impact will that have on you and your money? we're going to head to beijing for a unique perspective. do you read in bed? do you read out loud or in your head? do you need a lamp to see? and does it leave your bedmate be? don't you wish there was a light that wouldn't keep them up all night? if so, you'll be happy to know, our newest nook now comes with glow. introducing nook simple touch with glowlight, the only e-reader made for bedtime reading. find your nook at your neighborhood barnes & noble.
seen the worst fighting since the revolt over a year ago. they examine the violence from yesterday's violence. and thousands attend funerals in syria, thousands of them women and children. they vow revenge against the government. from there to china in a new article which suggests the economy is cooling, probably with problems between europe and the u.s. they have already provided spillover health into the u.s. market. the dow rose friday by 130 points, and this came as china announced a cut in key interest rates on one-year loans. joining us from beijing is the author of one of those articles, keith richberg from the "washington post." how are you, keith? >> well, alex. >> since we're talking about the chinese economy, how is life different there, keith, generally speaking?
>> well, it's only the beginning stages of a slowdown now, but you're already starting to see people get worried about it. for example, consumer spending is basically flattening out a little bit. that indicates that people just don't feel confident about the economy, and what they're doing is they're saving a lot more. what we're hearing about is more unemployment in the southern exporting zone. that's about guangdong, shenzen, basically the places miking the ipo ipods. if the exports are down, they're going to start laying off workers. we haven't seen that in big waves yet, but people are sort of bracing for that. they need to keep a certain level of growth going in order to keep providing jobs for the population here. so that's the big concern, is that if this goes on for a while. the other area is housing prices. we're starting to see a little concern about housing prices going down here, or at least flattening out, not going up at
the rate before. the big problem here is for a lot of people, their major investment is in their home, in their apartment. so if those prices don't start flattening out, that's why you see consumers cutting down on spending a bit. >> i'm curious, keith, for you how is life there different? do you ever turn over a cup you're drinking your coffee from and you see, wow, made in america. is there any of that? >> well, you know, you can see some things made in america here, but it tends to be -- well, cars, for example. general motors, i think you could arguably say, was really rescued because their sales in china really boomd ed at a time when they were seeking a bailout in the u.s. so they are really forward looking. ford is getting a little more into the china game. they opened a couple plants in changcheng. consumer goods like starbuck's you find on almost every other street corner these days. mcdonald's is doing great in
china. sales are pretty strong there. our economies now have become so interlinked that you could actually say we're dependent on a healthy china because we sell so much to the chinese as well as the chinese really rely on the united states to keep growing. >> in one sense, china needs to make sure the u.s. remains economically powerful until that debt gets downgraded. is that a balance? is it discussed there? do you see this discussed in the papers, on television or among people? >> it's absolutely out there. whenever timothy geithner, the treasury secretary, is out here, it becomes an issue because the chinese basically are very worried that the fed might do another round of this qualitative evening which is basically devalue, in the chinese view, their holding of u.s. dollars. so they don't like the idea we might be flooding the markets with more liquidity. they're very concerned about the
u.s. getting its housing finances in order, and it's very ironic that when geithner comes out here he's getting lectured by the chinese about getting the housing issue in order. they're very much aware of this. within the twitter universe that's out there, average citizens have voiced out on this as well where they're starting to ask the question, why does the government hold so much in u.s. dollars? why haven't they diversified more in japanese yen and other currencie currencies? it's out there a little bit. the government doesn't like that because it's sort of a public criticism of their economic management, but the chinese government has painted themselves into a corner a little bit for painting massive u.s. debt that they're dependent on u.s. success. >> thank you, keith. good to see you. >> good to see you. a few lucky sneaker freaks
are now sporting the nike shoe. people gathered to buy the "air yeezy ii shoes. one pre-sold for $90,000 on e bay. oh, come on. >> we've been here since monday at 1:00. it's been cold every night. you got to deal with a whole bunch of crazy people, but it's well worth it. i'd be willing to wait another week. >> wow! these limited edition shoes come in platinum or black. they feature anaconda textured leather, glow in the dark soles, even their own bags. but $90,000 on ebay? ow! and he didn't stop for three days and nights as he escaped life as a child soldier.
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a man was arrested and booked for $100,000 bail for beating his stepson. a neighbor caught anthony sanchez whipping his stepson with a belt until the neighbor intervened. >> i'm a father, too. there's got to be a better way to treat him than trying to teach him like that. why don't you come over and teach me. >> zach has adhd. the grandfather said the boy was punished for acting out, but when pressed, he said the beating may have been a bit extreme. >> you're suggesting that he was mouthing off. >> yes, he was. zach told me that. i said, zach, what was going on? he said, i was saying some real mean things. i've seen that. i've coached him in football. i've seen that behavior. >> i think a lot of folks would
look at that and say, even if he's mouthing off, does that justify taking a belt to him? >> i say anthony had excessive spanking. >> well, charges of felony abuse carry up to six years in prison. the d.a. is now examining the case. here's what we've been asking all of you today. what is the line between punishment and abuse? i got to tell you, we're getting a lot of tweets. here are some of them. my mother raised two sons on her own and sometimes had to give us a good spanking, to say the least. a baseball is a bit too much. violence begets violence. it solves nothing. hitting a child with a belt is abuse, period. keep talking to me. my handle is at alex witt. a new look at richard nixon. it's not as good as you might have thought even if you thought it was bad in the first place. that's coming up next on "weekends with alex witt." ld up. prilosec isn't for fast relief.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." fresh reaction today to the national security league scandal. senator john mccain is taking shots at attorney general eric holder who just appointed two federal prosecutors to lead the investigation. >> first of all, mr. holder's credibility with congress is -- there is none. as you know, we continue to have this problem with him withholding information on fast and furious, which resulted in the killing of a border patrol agent in arizona. he is close to being held in contempt. there is no credibility. >> covering the investigation for the "washington post" is national intelligence reporter greg miller. greg, thanks for joining us. >> sure, alex. >> first up, your reaction to senator mccain's comments. what are they? >> it just underscores the political tensions that are really underneath a lot of this concern over the leagues. of course, there are plenty of democrats who voiced a lot of concern over these leaks as
well, but it's also a big concern for republicans who have accused the add manipulation mi using the leaks to call attention to president obama's accomplishments in an election year. >> do you think this is a bigger political issue, or does this do more damage to national security? >> i think it's both. i do believe there is -- that, you know, it's not in my interest to say so as a reporter who covers the cia and other agencies, but you do hear that there are -- you know, these intelligence services rely on partnerships in foreign countries, and they're often aghast at what goes record port the united states. but at the same time, i think this administration has been under a lot of pressure in the last few years to disclose more about what it does. it's been running a targeted killing program with armed drones for a number of years now, and it has faced pressure to reveal more about how those sdig
decisions, those lethal decisions, are made. >> greg, clearly given the content, it appears these came from a high ranking source. is there any indication of which body of the government it came from, be it the white house, congress or the intelligence communities? >> well, i think it depends on what you're looking at here, because the concern over these leaks is cumulative, and it's been building for, you know, a couple of years with this administration dating back probably to really intensified with the raid that led to the death of osama bin laden, and then it turned out there were agreements to cooperate with a hollywood production team that was putting together a movie on that subject. now, some of the more recent stories, if you read through them, you'll see references to anonymous sources who are nevertheless identified as senior aides to obama, officials who would participate in meetings in the situation room inside the white house, so most cia people don't fall in that category. >> yeah. well, most investigators will look at something and say, well, who benefits the most from information that's put out
there? is there any general community that the overall picture presents there who benefits from this? >> well, i mean, in this case you're seeing the republicans argue that this administration benefits from a number of these recent stories because it makes obama look very aggressive and muscular on national security. but, you know, there are -- the list expands from there, of course, if you're talking about the bin laden raid, that's brought a lot of attention to the special forces community, to the cia, and the director of the cia at the time, leon panetta, has appeared on a number of news programs to talk about the success of that operation. so when things go right in the national security world, and in particular in the intelligence world, there are no shortage of people who usually line up to take some credit. >> yeah. how difficult is it for investigators to track down the source of an intelligence leak? what are the huge problems and hurdles they have to overcome? >> i would say it's very
difficult because just based on the history of this, there have been not very many leaks investigations and only a small number of those have been successful. but it would also say that it's getting easier, unfortunately, for reporters like myself, it is getting easier, and that's in part because of technology. so communications via e-mail the government can recover by getting those communications from internet service provider. it doesn't have to go to battle with a lawyer from the "washington post," for example, over notebooks or something. they haven't been very successful. it's very difficult because most of these stories involve multiple, multiple sources, but it is somehow getting easier which explains why this administration has brought a record number of leaks cases. >> bottom line, do you think we'll find out who leaked them? >> no, i don't. >> really. okay. >> i don't think so. >> we will look and see if you are right or wrong, but nonetheless, you will be back
with us. thank you so much for your time, greg miller, with the "washington post." >> thank you. it's been 80 years since the nixon conduct. >> there was never that sense of let's harmonize and solve the big problems. it was always, let's screw somebody, let's get the irs on them, let's get -- >> criminality as a policy of implementation. that's what's so astonishing. you hear so seldom on those tapes let's go the right way on anything, it was always, what's the criminal way to do it, in essence? >> that was back in 1972 when henchmen working for the white house were trying to bug the headquarters of the hotel in washington, d.c. in politics, the mayor and
tony lavigerosa talk about the importance of the latino vote in the election, but i started out talking about if mayors' groups are more productive than capitol hill. >> the mayors are democrat and republican, but they're more practical, they're more focused on getting things done, more results oriented. on the right, we've taken on tax cuts that we can't afford. we said we've got to close tax loopholes, that the left we've this notion that entitlements don't need reform in restructuring. many of us support pension reform, including the democrats. we've taken on seniority and tenure among teachers. the republicans have supported comprehensive immigration
reform. both sides, the entire delegation last year took on the issue of wars. we've been in two wars that we haven't paid for. we can't keep on building bridges and hospitals and baghdad and kandahar and not baltimore and kansas city. another example of bipartisan policy making by the conference of mayors was before the president put out his jobs plan, we went to think tanks, democrat and republican and independent. and we said, what are the things we could put together, a plan, for job creation that have historically been supported on a bipartisan basis? >> is this the common sense job plan? >> the common sense job plan. >> thank you very much. >> infrastructure. we've been investing in infrastructure, both parties, since president eisenhower. every president, democrat and republican, has understood that you can't have provifreeways an
roads, highways and bridges and ports that are in disrepair and expect to compete with china or anyone else. the fact of the matter is we're not investing in our infrastructure. we've extended to congress, the do-nothing congress, we've extended ten times now the service transportation bill. we're debating whether or not we should pass a bill that could create up to 2 million jobs, protect a million and create another million. it makes no sense. so the mayors are much more focused on getting things done, working together, much less married to what i call orthodox i a iy and i hdealogy.
>> talk about the latino vote. do you think it will stay more democratic than republican? >> yes, over the decades it votes more democratic than not. whether president obama remains in the white house will in large part be how much of a share of the latino vote he's able to get. i expect that he'll get upwards of 65%, and if he does, i expect that he'll get reelected. but we have to get them out to vote, we've got to energize them, we have to show them what's at stake. >> i look at the ceiling, and it is beautiful. this hand-painted -- it has sort of an old spanish feel to it. it's spectacular. >> well, when i decorated this
office, i didn't do all that. that's been here since the beginning. they restored it to its historical, you know, original form. what i did change was behind that mural there was a white wall, and so you couldn't see it. and working with architects and artists, we got one of the colors from the ceiling there, and now it brings out, so we made it brown instead and it brings out that mural, which is kind of a great mural. >> i love l.a. well, next weekend, i'll be talking about celebrated new author and my msnbc colleague on the weekends, chris hayes. he's up next with office politics. who is the former pennsylvania governor calling wusses? he's up next in the big three. it's not going to be me, i'm telling you. on those gardening. and let's see how colorful an afternoon can be.
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it is time now for the big three and today's topics, a nation of wusses, swing state myths, and you can't miss our must reads. let's bring in my big three panel, msnbc anthony trainer, and nbc news political analyst, ed rendell, who is also the author of "i natia nation of wu" governor, your book title is leading us into our first topic. what do you mean by a nation of wusses? >> wusses are people who don't do what they believe, who change their opinion on something just to go with the political wins. le let me give you two examples. newt gingrich who called it radical engineering got a little grief that night from a talk show host and the next day it was the greatest budget since sliced bread. a wuss.
when bill clinton survived and became popular again, he begged bill clinton to do fundraisers for him. wuss. democrats who won't tell the truth, the seniors we do have to reform entitlement programs if we're going to get out of this debt that faces us. wusses. that little guy grove norquist, that wizard behind the curtain, wusses. >> robert, your reaction to that? do you believe we're a nation of wusses? do you want to take on any examples the governor cited? >> according to webster's, the definition of a wuss is someone who is weak. if you say we're a nation of wusses, i don't agree with that, i think we're united and optimist optimistic. when it comes to people who don't have a backbone, when it comes to people who do not have
the kind of fortitude like a ted kennedy or rick santorum, someone who actually stands up for what they believe in, i agree with the governor that there are a lot of elected officials that quite frankly do not have a leg to stand on but that's very, very different from the constituency out there. >> alex didn't read the subtitle of the book. the subtitle is about our leaders. >> so it is about elected o officia officials, okay. and your take on the wusses? >> i wonder if we need some kind of wussometer where the governor comes in, a fact checker who decides what's right and wrong. i'm surprised that nobody on this panel so far has blamed the 24-hour media environment for it because that so often takes the blame for why people feel a lot of pressure. but it's probably no excuse for why more people don't stand up to their convictions. we certainly see a lot of people change their mind certainly between a primary race and the
general election, and i would expect we'll see more of it between now and november. >> and governor, i want to ask you, because you've gone out, you've been critical of the president on some issues of late, so does that mean that you are not a wuss? are you stepping out of that elected official and you don't want to put yourself perilously into that nation of wusses category yourself? >> remember, alex, i agree with our last commentator, absolutely right, the 24-hour news cycle does produce the wusses but it is no excuse. look, president obama, you know, he can fall for a number of things but he's no wuss. he did the auto bailout when it was manifestly unpopular. he did the financial bailout when it was widely unpopular. both of those work. he did health care at a time when his advisers say go slow, do insurance reform. he knew that was the last time he would have those type of majorities and he had to cover 31 million extra people with health care. it's a national disgrace we don't cover our people with health care.
he's definitely not a wuss. does he occasionally do wussy things? yes. so did i during my career. i did one big wussy thing. >> okay. we're going to stop talking about those swing state myths which i find so interesting. there's a new article at the "washington post" which looks at some of the myths and the first is to ignore the national economy and focus on the swing state economies. so how big of a focus should swing state economies be for the president and mitt romney or should they just focus on the national economy? >> well, the article makes the point that it's the national economy that people sort of creates the zike heist for people. i think probably the campaign officials would say it's both. general impressions are formed at the national level and obviously there are national trends that affect all states. and in specific states, there are things that apply to certain people. we've seen both campaigns, obama
in particular, really tailoring its message to swing state economies. but that's tricky to do because everybody sees what goes on from state to state. you can say things improve slightly in ohio and then if you go to a state not doing better, people still hear that this both places. >> governor rendell, one of the most reeither food quotes, all politics is local, but this suggests that might not apply to the economy. what's your take? >> i think the broad news that people digest is about the national economy, but the obama campaign has a big advantage in some swing states. you've got republican governor rick scott in florida saying the economy has turned around and practice is coming roaring back. john kasich in ohio said that and the unemployment rate is three percentage points lower than it was at its height. president obama can just quote the republican governors to say
the economy is turning around. i think that's an advantage in two states that will be fundamental to who wins or who loses. >> robert, your thoughts. >> if i can respond to governor rendell's comments. i think president obama very well can quote republican governors out there, but i'm not sure that actually bodes well with the average american voter because saying one they think and feeling another is completely two different things. and to answer your question specifically, it's a broad picture out there. the national economy is just that. it's a national economy. we're all into will this pot together. however,s as you know running for president is like running with 13 different states in mind. pennsylvania, florida, ohio, michigan and so forth. and those are individual mini campaigns if you will and the local economy is clearly what most like lie will decide whether or not will this president gets reelected or not. >> and ohio has come roaring back because of the automobile bailout, no question about it. >> robert, ann, ed, sit tight. up next, the must reads. fr want to start the day with something heart healthy and delicious?
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we've got 1:15 in the rest of the show, so let's get right to the must reads. ed rendell, yours for today. >> woodward and bernstein, the report on watergate 40 years later is a real eye opener. >> i would agree. ann. >> a story by my colleague at the post about president obama's relationship with his liberal base. it's a fascinating behind the scenes look. >> and how about you, robert. >> new york sometimes basically says running for president is very hard. the conservative south is no longer and the out west is no longer a part of the liberal constituency. >> a shot out to john harwood. that's nice. i want to thank all of you for being here. robert, ann and ed. appreciate your time on a sunday. and they did that so fast, we could have had another 10, 15 seconds. >> just for the record, you are definitely a nonwuss. >> you just made my day.
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